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Bloody but unbowed

Here is a typical example of the hands and results we encountered at the World Championships in Orlando.

Bloody but unbowed in Bridge

When partner bids again, he really should go to slam of 6♠ - go ahead and bid 6♠ yourself.

You make 12 tricks - only to find that you get 27% for the board as, with everything lying favourably for you, 13 tricks are there for the taking. Clearly quite a few players made 13 tricks! Can you figure out how?

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Hingham says:
I’m new to bridge but I’ve absolutely loved your reports from the World Champs. You’ve made it so interesting for us back in NZ. Thanks heaps!
JohnWearn says:
Just a repeat of Hinghams comment. Thanks again.
Grib says:
Played several times and cannot make contract..need a new brain.
Caroltwin says:
Have enjoyed all the hands and news of the World Champs. Don't know how you have had the time to communicate so well and often. Played the hand, made 6S, but still can't see how to make the extra one. Would love to see how it is done.
2nd time I finessed twice to get the Jack of Spades then finessed the King of diamonds ran through the clubs , finessing the Queen....i.e finessing all over the place all of which came off! Made 13. Probably wouldn't have done this in live play though!!!
I too enjoyed your reports from the World Series. It must have been really taxing. Thank you so much for taking the time to give us insights into that world. Cheers.
Player4 says:
I seem to be very new at bridge! Have the past 10 years learning been wasted I wonder. Definitely not ready for World Champs - I find my 10 hands on the computer just about stressful enough. As for this hand, I play a weak NT opening so never went near the slam. But thanks for this and all the other reports and hands.
I managed to make the 13 tricks but as @karebethia said it required a number of finesses so maybe that is an instance where a high risk play worked. You have no information about what e/w is holding. You know that they have 10 high card points between them but even as you play the hand you really have no idea where those cards are located. So essentially the way to make 13 tricks what you do is you think where you would like those high cards to be located. You need to assume East holds the King of Diamonds, the jack of spades and the q,j of hearts. Leaving West with the king of diamonds. It seems to me @tina that those who made 13 tricks engaged in risky play - although I suppose they would retort that once any of these finesses fails thay have a fall back position of simply making the 12 tricks. But I guess that is what sets the good bridge player apart from the average player - always on the lookout for that extra trick.
Thoroughly enjoyed Graeme's and your reports from Orlando.
castalia says:
6S is not hard to achieve....but 7S requires four successful finesses....S, H and C to South and D to North....the odds of success are low....
cookespot says:
It all depends on the finesses and you have to have guts and take your chances and make sure you get in the right hand.
Took me 2 goes to get 12 then a 3rd to get 13. Doubt I would ever have made all those finesse first time
PJM says:
thought I had done every finesse there was but should have drawn last spade ... Well done . sounds to be a huge challenge but I really enjoyed following you.....
colinjohn says:
Thanks for your commentaries on the world champs which I found interesting and informative. I was interested in your comment about how the best players were the ones who rarely made an error as this has been my experience with sports where the best have been technically proficient with a high degree of accuracy. I will concentrate in future in avoiding the occasional brainstorms which end up in me having a ridiculous contract.
Made 6S first time but 7 alluded me. Thanks for the advice about all the finesses. Sky Bridge Club is so helpful as a relative newbie. Your posts from Orlando were very interesting. Thanks for taking the time.
graeme says:
Visiting my parents in Nelson, NZ, for a few days and found a bottle of Pic’s boysenberry jelly. Wow! - delicious. Possibly not relevant to what we’re talking about here, sorry, but I’m in boysenberry jelly heaven right now.
kevinh says:
It certainly makes one realise how inept one is, It took me a number of attempts to solve the "puzzle" but sitting here in Noosa with no let up from the rain what else with time on hand allowed me to press the re deal button so many times. Thanks for all the reports they were enlightening.
IvaM says:
After reading that some made 7, I went ahead and bid using the Blackwood and got to 6 S easily, with your hint I bid 7S’s and finessed everything and made the 7 without a problem. I would have normally stopped at 6. If you need the finesse to make the bid go ahead and try is my motto. Enjoyed your postings.
bcoughlin says:
Someone once said that only mediocre players, play well all the time! I mean, where's the fun!
bcoughlin says:
Its a fun hand to replay 2 or more times, bidding differently each time. It's perfect hand for 6 no trump or even 7 no trump, if you are seated correctly with the hands, each needed finesse works! While I only made 12 at 6 spades, I doubt I would have bid seven if I were in Florida with you!
bala1954 says:
Made 7 on the 3rd try - echo comments above that requires going for the finesses, and they happen to break the right way. Not sure would try for all if playing live - but then maybe can assume 6 makes easily if lose one.
@Tina, in my world the leap to 6S is “flamboyant”, what say you. But, along with all the others, I appreciate your thoughtful commentary. Canaveral! We are up the coast a wee bit, but your whole group would have been welcome on our deck for “lobbers”. Best, Dexter Morrison, W. Boothbay Harbor, Maine (USA)
@graeme honestly I'm confused by the bidding. Why did N open 1NT with 18? I get the stayman bid (tho I would go straight to 3N instead of 2C) but why 6S? North's possible 15 points and my 12 seems like a 4S bid?
mccrady says:
I agree. Could you talk about control bidding in slam? Don’t get it. Thank you
romey78 says:
I am always learning something new on SBC - what is a boysenberry berry when it is at home?
This hand is a perfect example of thinking where you need the cards to be to make 7 and playing assuming they are -
Of course at the table this has to be done pretty quickly - were the time controls difficult in Orlando?
Such pleasure from your blogs - thanks
18-18 strong nt? Bid 7 because I knew it could be made, but not by me! Made 6 in spades.
vals says:
Tina asked can you work out how to make 13 tricks .Short answer No ! Your parents know the way to their boys heart is through his stomach @graeme ! When my sons visit they always want to eat what they ate as a child - peanut butter sandwiches for example ...... !
So that's what they mean by deep finesse you are all amazing and brave thanks for reporting in!
Yes—- but not first time as ended up in 1NT—-not second time, because was plain NT when I was in spades. Time #3 played in spades, but drew all trump and went into NT for 13 tricks. Never would have happened at club or tournament. That is why those players are there and I am here.
Anyone go for 7NT —- works!
I made 11 tricks with 6 spades (-50) and made 11 tricks with 4 spades (450 pts) - Happy with making my game bid!
997maybe says:
Good to have you back and interesting to hear all the details. My computer won't let me play this game...I will try later. Enjoy you boysenberry 'heaven' @graeme and your visit with parents.
As many have commented, you need 4 finesses to work, to make all the tricks. That's not hard to work out or do. The really difficult thing is that 2 of them can be taken either way round, and one of them can be deep or not. The only clue I could see is that E has the JH or wouldn't have led the QH. Guessing the other choices seems to me pure luck ... but then I'm 'new to bridge'!
Tricky game,- it took me several attempts to make 13 and it was nerve- racking to repeatedly finesse! S S
Helen says:
Sitting comfortably at home, with no partner ready to fall into a dead faint opposite me, plus Tina's clue, I pretended I was a pro and merrily finessed and deep-finessed all over the place, cruising effortlessly to 7S., At the local club, I wouldn't have even thought of trying it. Like so many others, I have absolutely loved Tina's & Graeme's observations and comments on a level of bridge that I would otherwise never have been able to glimpse. Please do it again one day -- when you've recovered!
Ellswell says:
Tried 7NT and make-able too although knew hands by then, but using blackwood to learn partner had 2A's & 2K's, would be pleasant surprise to see two additional queens. Probably wouldn't have gone to 7NT without knowing. The opening 1NT (usually 12-14 then hands in pocket) by the openers rebid, does that show first call was testing waters showing balanced hand call? Maybe it's something haven't learnt yet but as learner thought bidding would have gone something like 1S -2C-3NT-4S-4NT-5H-5NT-5D-then whatever your end contract will be either in spades or NT's. So basically is the 1NT opening a call other than 12-14pts hands in pocket call? Help @tina
jcan47 says:
@graeme please explain the jump from 2S to 6S. With a 1NT bid I would have assumed partner to have 16. I have 12. So 28 total. Great number for game. But slam? I normally look for something over 30 for slam. What am I missing?
jcan47 says:
@graeme @tina Looking forward to Tina’s explanation. And guessing ahead, that it might be world championship aggressiveness. But, Graeme why did the hint suggest 6S. Are world championship hints different than Sky Bridge hints?
hound says:
I have had this hand open with thoughts for several hours fantasizing as a bridge pro in an alternate reality. What would I think???. Putting aside the bidding which would be variable and not necessarily as listed what would I do on the opening lead? Strategy would depend in part on what everyone else would do. Try not to depart too much from the crowd. Most would be making or going down one depending on the lie of the cards. Likely the slam will make (The whole left hand side of my hand should with professional play produce) All will really depend on that Right hand part of my hand which needs the clubs for sure to behave so assume they will. Scenarios include finesse and end plays with attention to finding the KJ Diamonds QClubs . Finesse may not be needed -may be able to drop the missing high cards. Lead strongly suggests Heart layout unlikely to be singleton. Trumps play for worst layout so leave my hand tenace intact. Play accordingly to get a count on the hand and determine that East West layout. The Clubs as as anticipated we have not dropped the doubleton or singleton Queen. Safe to take the diamond finesse for the overtrick was long as we haven't left East with a wining Heart for down one. So the risks are actually relatively low and my competitors who are skilled will be doing this also.
Back to reality-If only I could pull this off.
@Tina what is the professional thinking that got the Spades to behave? In real life I would have played them unsuccessfully .

Tina says:
@hound. A suit will often break 4-1 so you should be on the lookout for it. Sometimes, as is here, you can finesse either way so it’s a guess. Jenny didn’t pick it and lost a trump to make 12 tricks instead of 13.
hound says:
@tina. Thanks so much for all of this. Its the either way part that I was thinking about and thinking about the 2% chance 5-0 split so play the cards for that remote possibility ??
Thank u so much for ur encouraging report. I'm often disappointed with my play but when I hear Graeme is struggling I will try harder. Ye are a great gift to Bridge Nora Cooney.
Six spades?! What a ridiculous contract to get to with these cards. Responder has a 12 count vs. opener's presumably 16-18 count. Nowhere close to enough to bid 6!
@graeme just saying hi
Thanks everyone. Made 7 S. Often wondered how to make when the break is 4-1.
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